Tuesday, May 5, 2009
S'More Cupcakes Please!
My employer, Edelman, is a long-time supporter of Chicago's Off the Street Club, a group that ensures that children ages 4 - 18 from the West side of Chicago have a safe place to go after school and on weekends. In addition to their regular programming, the club also offers a summer camp program that allows up to 500 kids the opportunity to experience sleep-away camp on 30-acres of woodland outside of Chicago, perhaps for the first or only time in their lives.
The club has asked Edelman and other firms in Chicago to raise the money needed to fund the camp this summer, so the office has been hosting bake sales each week this month. In honor of the Camp, I decided to contribute S'Mores Cupcakes.
These cupcakes are something I've been toying with for a couple of years...mainly because I love the idea of using marshmallow fluff as frosting: smear it on your cupcakes, stick them under the broiler and watch as they puff and crisp just like a marshmallow over a fire. Magic!
The cakes start with a layer of graham cracker crust smashed into the bottom of each cupcake, followed by a layer of chocolate chips, cake batter, another layer of chocolate and graham and, finally the frosting. Once the marshmallow icing cools, I add a square of Hershey's chocolate for an authentic campfire feel. These cupcakes are gooey, crunchy, chocolaty and decadent.
For this version, I adapted an amazing recipe from Martha Stewart BUT...since I was baking these up on a Tuesday, at 8pm after a long day at work, I took a few shortcuts. Instead of from-scratch cake, I used a box of Pilsbury Fudge Brownie Mix, which provides the necessary rich-chocolatey taste and fudgey texture. Instead of from-scratch frosting, I used canned marshmallow fluff. It doesn't hold its shape as well as the homemade frosting probably would but its sweet, gooey, sticky, mallowy and fast. Yum.
Make these now for an early taste of summer...no campfire needed. And, while you're thinking about campfires, consider making your own donation to the Off the Street Club...and help a needy kid enjoy camp (and hopefully some S'mores!) this summer.
Adapted from MarthaStewart.com
Makes 24 cupcakes
1 "Family Size" box Pilsbury Fudge Brownies
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
20 graham crackers
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1 bag unsweetened mini chocolate chips
2 cans Marshmallow Fluff
2 Hershey Bars (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place 24 cupcake liners in muffin tins. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions for "cake like" brownies (3 eggs instead of 2). Set aside batter.
Combine graham crackers and sugar in a food processor or blender and pulse until the crackers are crushed into small, even crumbs. Add melted butter and pulse again until mixture is crumbly but becomes firm when pressed.
Drop 1 Tablespoon of graham cracker mixture into the bottom of each muffin cup and use a small glass to press them down until evenly spread and firm. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of chocolate chips on top of graham crust in each cupcake. Place cupcake pans in the oven for about 5 minutes to firm graham crusts and begin melting the chocolate.
Remove pans from oven and fill each muffin cup with brownie batter until 3/4 of the way full. Sprinkle each cupcake with another teaspoon of chocolate chips and a Tablespoon of graham mixture. Place tins in the oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center cupcake comes out clean.
Place muffin tins on a rack until the cupcakes are cooled. Meanwhile, fill a pastry bag or quart-sized zipper bag with marshmallow fluff. When cupcakes have cooled, pipe a small amount of frosting on top of each cake. Do not overfrost, as the fluff will ooze as it settles onto the cakes.
Turn oven to broil setting and place muffin tins, one at a time, under broiler approximately 1 inch from the flame. Watch the cakes closely to make sure they puff and brown but do not burn. This may only take a few seconds! Shift tin as needed to make sure the marshmallow browns evenly. Repeat with the second tin. If desired, once cupcakes are completely cooled, top each with a piece of Hershey's chocolate.
Serve with lots of napkins....or a hose.